Ironman Triathlon Strength Coach San Antonio

5 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before You Sign Up for an Ironman

The Triathlon season is approaching. Have you figured out what race you want to do? Have you figured out your season? Most people have but if you are getting ready for an Ironman race and you haven’t signed up for one, chances are the a lot of the Ironman races in the US are full. Ironman AZ 2015 filled up on the spot in AZ and people online couldn’t even get in.

As you sit on the computer looking at to figure out your race schedule, there are 5 questions you should ask yourself before you sign up for an Ironman and your success at the race. This is what I came up with…

What Ironman Should I Do?

  1. Do you want to swim in the river, ocean or a lake?
  2. Do you like flats, hills or mountains on the bike?
  3. Do you want 2-3 loops on the run? Flat or hilly?
  4. Do you want to train during the winter, spring, fall or summer?
  5. Do you want to travel via flight or car?

Let me break them down for you…

1. Do you want to swim in the river, ocean or a lake?

You need to ask yourself,  “How comfortable are you in the open water?” Did you grow up swimming in a nasty lake and the thought of ugly fishshark-pool1 and sharks DON’T bother you? Pick an ocean swim. Did you grow up swimming in the community pool and the thought of swimming with ugly fish and sharks bother you? I would pick a river or a lake.

Ironman FL is one of my FAVORITE Ironman races BUT you are swimming in the ocean. Florida was canceled this year due to high rip tides, so it wouldn’t have been safe for anyone. Ironman CDA is in a lake. My thought…easy breezy but the water cold and choppy this year, that I did have a panic attack in the middle of my race. I would have taken an ocean swim any day. Let’s look at Ironman-Texas. You start off in a lake but then it narrows down to the river. Will you feel claustrophobic? Those are some of the thoughts that I have before I sign up for an Ironman.

2. Do you like flats, hills or mountains on the bike?

You can also ask yourself, “Are you a strong, average or weak cyclist?” A triathlete needs to have a solid foundation and fit on the bike, especially heading on those mountains but also on the flats. The bike is the longest portion of the race AND you can gain a lot of the bike.

When I think of flat Ironman, I think of Ironman FL and Ironman Western Australia. Do you have the core and back strength to stay in aero position about 95% of the time? When I think of hills on the bike, I think of IM-Coeur d’Alene or Wisconsin. There are some flats, but mostly rollers and hills. Do you enjoy heading up those hills but getting reinforced going down hill and flying? When I think of mountains, I think of IM-Lake Tahoe. You may be walking your bike up those mountains. Do you have a power meter? Power meter will keep you accountable for those all of these courses but make sure you are being smart on your ride, so you can go have a decent run.

3. Do you want 2-3 loops on the run? Flat or hilly?

Do you train around hills on your runs or are you running mostly flat for your training? The Ironman runs lately have been at least 2 or 3 loops, which can be a good or bad thing. It can mentally put you in a funk, seeing the same thing OR you can figure out how to negative spilt each loop. You learn to put your head down and “run ugly.” Remember if you went out to hard on the bike, you will have a tough run, whether it is 2-3 loops, flat or hilly.

Ironman FL has 2 loops and flat as all get out. The support is WONDERFUL! Ironman AZ has 3 loops and flat with a little hill. Ironman-CDA has 2 loops, flat for the first 5 miles and then 6-8 has a good 6% hill. Do you want to walk up those hills or opt to shuffle up it?

4. Do you want to train during the winter, spring, fall or summer?

With Ironman Triathlons going on from March to December, you can pick whatever month you want BUT, you also need to look at when you are doing most of your quality training. Do you want to train in the middle of winter, possibly on the trainer, with no friends? What about training in the heat in San Antonio during the summer? Are you a teacher? Is it easier to do your race during the summer, when you are off OR do you want your summer off? Those are the questions you need to ask yourself.

Check out Ironman Website and you will see a race pretty much every month, other than January and February. You can do Ironman Western Australia in December (Highly recommend it). Your heavy training months will be September-November. Check out Ironman-New Zealand, which is in March but remember your heavy training days will be Dec-February. Do you have anyone to train with? Will you be inside training, if you live in the Mid-West?

5. Do you want to travel via flight or car? 

It is very easy to drive to a race. You place all of your stuff in your car, pack it full with bike, nutrition, and race gear, possibly the dog and off you go. BUT, you can’t really do that for all races. (Granted depends on where you live) BUT if you live in the US, and you want to check out a race in Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand…time to fly.

Ask yourself these questions for traveling to a race…do you have a bike box? Do you know how to break your bike down and put it back together for the box? Does TriBike Transport go to the race? (Highly recommend this company!) What do they do? They ship your bike via UHAUL, along with a bike bag and BAM, your bike and bag are there by the time you get there for the race.  I know there are other companies like this. I am not familiar with them. Overseas traveling with the bike can be hard BUT way worth it. Learn how to pack light!

Deciding on an Ironman can be challenging…there are a lot of factors BUT look at these factors and how they apply to you, so you can have the best race out there for yourself. Don’t pick a race because it is about to close or because all of your friends are doing it. Pick a race because you can’t wait to do it and you are craving to do it.   

Side note: I chose IM-TX for 2015 and I had a hard time deciding on doing it. Why? There are factors that I am not a fan of (river and 3 loops on the run) BUT there are different factors that I wanted to take care of first, #kona2015. After Ironman-FL this year, I learned how to HTFU and what ever gets thrown at me, I know I figure it out and make SH&$ happen (#MSH).

Side note #2: I got injured going into IMTX. Ended up not doing it. Interesting though how I knew in my heart, it wasn’t my favorite venue BUT my body decided that for me. Always. Always. Listen to your heart. It knows where it is at!



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My Contribution

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” ~Walt Disney

Super excited that I was asked to be a part of article: “Offseason Strength -Training Tips for Triathletes.

As you know, I am SUPER passionate about strength training and honestly, I didn’t figure it out until I took a break from Ironman Tri‬athlon training and started doing CrossFit and Strength Training.

As I look back to starting my career as a Triathlon and Strength Coach, I would have NEVER thought I was going to be contributing to a major health and fitness website. Man, if this has what happened with my business in 2014….I seriously can’t wait for 2015.

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What is The Strongest Mile?

Off season…time to lift heavy stuff! Reach out to me if you would like me to design YOUR customized strength and conditioning program!

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Ironman Triathlon Strength Coach San Antonio

Ironman Florida 2014 Blog

Saturday – November 1st, 2014 – Ironman Florida  

4:00 am – I look at Weather Channel and saw the warnings of rip tides, along with red flags or double red flag. Walked on the balcony and saw that the people of the Ironman were putting buoys out.  Chris and I talked…there isn’t going to be a swim. #wecalledit


Feeling good on the bike!

5:30 am – Got to transition. Placed nutrition on the bike and in my bags. Turned Garmin on for bike…2% battery left. Walked every where and asked if anyone had a Garmin charger. No luck. Looks like I am doing 112 miles by feel.

6:30 am – Put Xterra wetsuit on inside hotel. FREEZING out with the winds. Walked out around 6:45 and heard the announcement: “We will be canceling the Ironman FL swim due to riptide and the safety of our athletes. We will be doing a time trial start at 8:00 am. Pro’s first and then the age groups will proceed.”

7:30 am – Changed into bike gear (Under Armor top, gloves, ear covers, along with Betty Design clothing). Saw my Mom and Mom in Law, along with Chris.

8:25 am -112 mile Bike. Heading into 15-20 mph for the first 23 miles. We had a combo of crosswind, tail winds and head winds the whole ride. We had some gust winds up to 35 mph. Nutrition was pretty solid with Generation UCAN, electrolytes, and Nuun. Felt pretty strong on bike but as I look back…I probably went to hard. My time was 6:05:19 and averaging 18.39 mph on that course.

2:10 pm “ish” – T2. Get out of warm clothes, put on lululemon speed shorts, put on Betty Designs hat and Rudy Project Aviator glasses, bathroom stop and off I went. I spend too much time in transitions BTW…7:02.

2:20 pm “ish” – 26.2 mile Run. First 5 miles were going really well. I saw Chris on the run. I may have started to fast on the run but I felt so good. Then around mile 6, I felt like crap. Dry heaving. Couldn’t keep any food in me. Opted to go for Coke and chips. It did settle my stomach. Mile 10, I pulled the hat down and started crying but was still running. Mile 11 and 12 – Walked. Ran. Dry Heave. Cried. Pain in abdominal cavity (had that AFTER IM-CDA). I wanted to quit! Mile 13 – I saw my athlete, Jess and my Mom and MIL. I told them I wanted to quit and they said no. So, off I went. Got to mile 14…15…16…What? Wait? Only 10 miles to go! I CAN DO THIS! I told myself, I needed to run from station to station and walk at the stations to get chips, water or Coke in me. Then at mile 18, I found Base Performance. The gentlemen told me, I looked great and I told him, I felt like SH$%. He said take 3 thumb full of this electrolyte with water and then take it every mile. IT ROCKED. I was FLOORED at how great I felt. My stomach settled. I was able to run the rest of the 8 miles home. Thank you BASE PERFORMANCE… #YOUROCK.  At mile 23, I heard the announcer…”You are an Ironman.” I knew I had to push it and just go for it. I knew I wasn’t going to qualify for Kona but I knew I had to finish strong. I pushed hard and felt my pace was around an 8:15 or so based on counting my cadence. I felt really strong for the last three miles for considering how terrible I felt around mile 10.


You Are An Ironman!

When I crossed, I couldn’t stop smiling and I heard again….

“Jennifer Rulon. You. Are. An Ironman.”

Total time of Ironman FL: 10:46:34 (138.2 miles) – The announcer said…”There was an another Rulon that came in earlier today!” I saw my athlete, Jess, who was at the finisher shoot. She put a medal around my neck. It was so good to see her. I heard my Mom and Chris calling for me. Yes…I did it. I am a 7 x Ironman Finisher!

It was a very tough day for all athletes out there. I learned so much about myself as an athlete. I learned how to push mentally pass some challenges. I wanted to give up so bad. I have NEVER DNF’d a race before. I told myself to #HTFU and make it happen. It would be harder for me to stop mentally than to dig deep  through that uncomfortable feeling. What would my excuse have been? It hurt? It was uncomfortable? Of course it was…it was an IRONMAN!!!

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Listening to the Body

As triathletes, we have been taught to go, go, go. We swim. We bike. We run. We lift weights. We race.  God has a bigger plan

Sometimes what we don’t listen to is our body telling us something is wrong, like an injury, hamstring pull or plantar fasciitis, fighting a head cold or a flu bug. Your body is a smart. It has been design to let YOU know when  something isn’t right.  The body is the most amazing machine on this earth.  It is telling your body to rest and heal.

What are you doing to get better? Are YOU listening to your body?  Are you training? Are you resting? Nah, I am good. I am a triathlete. I don’t need rest. Ahhh, think again.

I bring this up today because I am the one that is sick. I must have gotten some flu bug today. I woke up with a headache. Grabbed some coffee. Coffee didn’t even taste good. I got my running clothes on, grabbed the pup and off we went for “Wunning Wednesday” on the trails. It was not pretty. I had some dry heaves and some stomach issues. Made it home. Shower. Put on sweats, sweatshirt, socks, cuddled up in a blanket and slept for 2 hours. I haven’t eaten much today, which will affect my workouts for Thursday, if I am up for working out.

This is my rule of thumb when it comes to being sick or injured:

  • Above the neck (headache, head cold): I try to get out and do something for at least 30 minutes. If it doesn’t feel good after 10 minutes, I turn around/stop, etc.
  • Below the neck: It is a rest day for me. Drink lots of fluids. Try to eat what I can and sleep!
  • Injury: Depends on the injury and also depends on the severity of the injury. I will try a massage first. If it is worse, I will contact Airrosti.

So why did I go run? I thought it was a headache, which in turned to a 24 hour flu bug.

Remember, missing ONE  or two days from a workout will not hurt your fitness.  Remember, to look at the BIG picture of your training and your racing. Taking off one or two days to allow the body to heal is not a bad thing….actually, it will only help.

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